Forge keeps CPL crown in scoring final victory over HFX

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Indeed, Forge’s second strike was a tough one for the Wanderers to swallow, especially since it came in the 90th minute.

Maxim Tissot booted a free kick from distance, and the ball took a funny hop on HFX goalkeeper Christian Oxner, escaped his grip, hit the post and bounced in.

Game over.

Crown defended.

“It’s what we do — we score goals,” Forge head coach Bobby Smyrniotis told OneSoccer.ca. “It’s the one thing we believe in. We know we’re going to score goals in games. Most people try to find where those goals are going to come from, but they come.”

The goals certainly did come from everywhere for the champs, with Bekker’s three acting as the team high in this tourney.

Tissot became the 21st Forge player to net a goal for the club since the CPL opened play in April 2019.

“We’ve come together as a team, even tighter than we were last year. We’ve just been working hard every day. We didn’t come here to have any days off or vacation or anything. We knew we had to grind every day, and it all ends up in us being champion.”

It was the perfect end to the team’s journey both last season and in the face of the coronavirus pandemic this summer, given that Forge always seems to get better — in a season or in a tourney — as the schedule unfolds.

Saturday’s triumph, for instance, was punctuated by a third-straight clean sheet for goalkeeper Triston Henry.

“It feels fantastic,” Smyrniotis told OneSoccer.ca. “We looked at a video at the hotel (Saturday morning) at the whole process of guys training at home (during the COVID-19 pause) and finally getting back to the field and training individually and playing here, and it makes this all special for our club and for the city of Hamilton and for the supporters and for everyone involved.”

And it’s not over yet for the Hammers, as they now prepare to face Major League Soccer’s Toronto FC in the upcoming Canadian Championship in pursuit of the coveted Voyageurs Cup.

“It’s another game, and that’s how we’ll look it,” Smyrniotis told OneSoccer.ca. “When it’s crunch time, the guys know how to get it done. When they get turned on and they want something, they go after it and they get it.

“And they proved that again here.”

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